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Group Considering Lawsuit After Fla. AG Says No To Marijuana Petition

Jessica Palombo

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has denied a group’s petition to pave the way for legalizing medical marijuana in the state. The Florida Cannabis Action Network has until the end of the week to plan its response.

Cannabis Action Network Executive Director Jodi James wants people to be able to smoke marijuana prescribed by their doctors without being criminals.

“I’m sure that ending alcohol prohibition didn’t look like it was going to happen until it happened. And I’m sure that women’s suffrage didn’t look like it was going to happen until the day that it happened,” she said.

In November, the group petitioned Bondi to take marijuana off the list of Schedule 1, or most dangerous, controlled substances. It was a move they hoped would clear the way for the legislature to allow doctors to prescribe smoking the plant.

But Bondi’s office responded in December that changing the Schedule 1 classification would conflict with federal law, and Bondi’s required by law to consider that.

But, James says, Bondi should have considered other factors also.

“The federal scheduling is just one of many,” she said. “And by not looking at the others, she has set herself up to have some administrative problems.”

The group has until the end of this week to decide whether to appeal Bondi’s denial. And James said, all options are still on the table, including filing a class-action lawsuit.

“We believe that removing cannabis from Schedule 1 is the right answer, and we are not satisfied with Pam Bondi’s answer, I’ll tell you that,” she said.

James said, the group is also gearing up its legislative strategy. They’re closely following a bill they expect state Sen. Jeff Clemens (D- Lake Worth) to file. They’re hoping it would allow some doctors to prescribe medical marijuana with approval from the federal government.

Meanwhile, opponents of legalizing medical marijuana say, cannabis can already be used in pill form without smoking the plant. And, they fear, legalizing it could open the door for more widespread drug use in the state.